Archive for February, 2008

Martin Guitars

The New York Times published this travel article about visiting  the Martin guitar factory. I have mentioned these guitars several times before. The company directed the development of the instrument. Old ones fetch high prices. Although there are now many high end makers, Martin continues to hold a special status. I have a fairly new one that I have enjoyed thoroughly.

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Michael M. on February 24th 2008 in General, Music

Banjos & Joe Thompson

Tuesday night in my Folk School class, Old-time Ensemble II, we learned Joe Thompson‘s “Old Corn Liquor.” Our teacher told us about the Tennessee Banjo Institute where he had first encountered Joe and Odell Thompson. This panoramic photograph shows the 1992 attendees. Thanks to creativity and the slowness of the camera, both ends feature Pete Seeger and Béla Fleck.

The documentary The Life & Times of Joe Thompson is available streaming from UNC-TV‘s North Carolina Visions. The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage page on him also links to a video. I just enjoyed watching both. Thompson is the primary mentor to the blogged Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Searching for more information about the Tennessee Banjo Institute, I found this video on YouTube of a fellow talking about the origins of the banjo. Scott Didlake brought back the gourd banjo. He grew up in Crystal Springs. I wish I had met him.

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Michael M. on February 7th 2008 in General, Music, Recorded

Lebanese Mississippi

Kibbe at the Crossroads ran last week on NPR‘s Morning Edition. The story focused on Lebanese people in the Delta, but there are Lebanese people in most parts of Mississippi. I have known some all my life, and I was grown before I knew that they were not common in America. Although never a very big group there, enough came to Mississippi to change the law. A bill just a few years ago preserved this exception (PDF).

Nonresident aliens who are citizens of Syria or the Lebanese Republic may inherit property from citizens or residents of the State of Mississippi.

No other foreign group has that exception.


Michael M. on February 7th 2008 in General

New Folk School

The West End Word published this article on the new building for the frequently blogged Folk School. The new address is 3155 Sutton Blvd, Suite 101, Maplewood, MO 63143-3917. Although I have not tried it yet, taking MetroLink will not be too hard. The new location is only 0.6 miles from the Sunnen Station, and the Folk School should get a bicycle rack sometime soon.

I have now been to two classes and two jams there. It is terrific. It has more space. The acoustics are better. I can sense all the fun yet to come.

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Michael M. on February 7th 2008 in General, Live, Music

Peanut butter

This post about peanut butter caught my attention when it was linked from Kottke. I eat a lot of peanut butter. I eat some most days of my life. It just tastes good. This fellow thinks that Parkers Farm Peanut Butter is the best. I had never heard of it, much less tasted it.

Just imagine if “every lunch hour of my educational experience” stretched over 25 years. Peter Pan might have tried to kill me with salmonella, but I was sad to see it disappear from stores. I started buying it again as soon as it hit the shelves again. It would take much more than a little hemolysis to end our relationship.

Furthering my relationship with the excellent food, Saint Louis played an important role in the history of peanut butter. George A. Bayle, Jr. started selling it here in 1890. The blogged 1904 World’s Fair helped popularize it. In more recent times, WashU School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital pediatrician Mark Manary has promoted it as a solution to malnutrition in the third world.

I have a hard time imagining liking any peanut butter more than Peter Pan, but I will have to seek some Parkers Farm Peanut Butter.

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Michael M. on February 7th 2008 in General

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